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Tips To Identify Theme of The Passage

Published on Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Meaning of Comprehension: 

Comprehension is usually misunderstood as just writing some answers to the questions based upon a given paragraph. Comprehension means “Reading for Meaning”.

Meaning of Theme: 

A theme is a central or underlying idea in the given comprehension passage. The passage given has one theme running through the passage. The theme in the given passage is its underlying message, or 'big idea.'

Read the Given Passage Two Times: 

Before making an attempt to solve the Theme Detection question or Identification of the theme, you must read the given passage at least two times.

Valuable Tips to Identify the Theme:

  • Try to understand the basic central idea of the passage given i.e. the main subject covered in the passage.
  • Try to find out the heading of the passage as is usually done in the “Precis” passage in the school/college examinations. The clue of the heading or the topic is usually expressed by the author in the opening line of the passage and the same is linked with the concluding line because the passage is always interconnected.
  • The theme is not expressed in a single word whereas the heading of the passage may be of single word. But the theme is undoubtedly related to the heading of the passage. It is a point, a statement, a valuable lesson pertaining to life revolving around the heading.
  • Try to understand the opinion/view of the author in the given passage. The view of the author would certainly lead you towards the theme detection.
  • The theme in the given comprehension passage is just the “Message from the author – what he/she wants to convey to the readers.” So, try to understand what the writer wants to convey to the readers. Try to find out the message the author wants to convey to the readers. This message is exactly the theme.
  • Remember that every given passage constitutes a theme but to identify correctly the theme is an art which can be learnt through practice.
  • The clue to the theme is also usually inherent in the lines/statement written by the author.You have to make inferences, arrive at the conclusions by reading between the lines i.e. grasping the inherent tone of the author.
  • Theme is usually related to some great idea.
  • Theme can be found anywhere in the comprehension paragraph given but usually it is in the opening line and having connectivity with the concluding i.e. the ending line.
  • The theme is the underlying meaning of the comprehension paragraph and there is at least one line in the paragraph confirming that underlying message.
  • Normally the authors repeat the theme of the text through different words. Find out the repetition of the words in the text and that is the clue to the theme.
  • The theme may not be matching with your personal beliefs; but while solving the question you have to go only by the opinion of the author expressed in the paragraph given.
  • The theme may not explain the complete passage to you but it is a significant statement through which you can grasp the whole passage.
  • As the time allotted to solve the question is just less than a minute, you can also adopt the reverse route of going through the five options and find out which of the five options is best connected/linked/related to the passage.

Solved Examples:

Example 1. 

Though the waste of time or the expenditure on fashions is very large, yet fashions have come to stay. They will not go, come what may. However, what is now required is that strong efforts should be made to displace the excessive craze for fashion from the minds of these youngsters.

Options Given: 

(a) Fashion is the need of the day 
(b) The excessive craze for fashion is detrimental to one’s personality 
(c) The hoard for fashion should be done away with so as not to let down the constructive development. 
(d) Work and other activities should be valued more than the outward appearance. 
(e) None of these.


Reading the first line and the last line of the given passage – it is very clear that the topic is related to Fashion but the opinion of the author is contrary to the craze of fashion. The author considers fashion as “waste of time”, “expenditures on fashions very large”, “to displace the excessive craze for fashion”. Going by these three considerations put forth by the author and just having a glance at the options provided – the option (c) is the correct answer. Especially the meaning of “to displace” is given in the statement (c) as “should be done away with”.

Example 2. 

 The future of women in India is quite bright and let us hope that they will justify their abilities by rising to the occasion. Napoleon was right when he declared that by educating the women we can educate the whole nation. Because a country can never rise without the contribution of 50% of their population.


(a) India is striving hard for the emancipation of women 
(b) All women should be well-educated 
(c) A nation can progress only when women are given equal rights and opportunities as men. 
(d) Women ought to be imparted full freedom to prove their worth and contribute to the progress of the nation. 
(e) None of these.


Reading the first line and the last line of the given passage, it is very clear that the topic relates to Women and the view of the author is strongly in favour of the education of the women as expressed by the author through the views of Napoleon. Going by the opinion of the author and having a glance at the options provided – the option (d) is the correct answer. Especially the meaning of “they will justify their abilities” is reflected in option (d) through “to prove their worth”.
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Ramandeep Singh is a seasoned educator and banking exam expert at BankExamsToday. With a passion for simplifying complex concepts, he has been instrumental in helping numerous aspirants achieve their banking career goals. His expertise and dedication make him a trusted guide in the journey to banking success.

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